The most powerful series production Ferrari has ever built
- Thrilling performance
- Electric handling
- If you can, you should
- Hugely expensive
- Will be too fast for some
The latest in a long line of front-engined Ferrari GT cars has arrived in the shape of the 812 Superfast.
Designed to accommodate two people and a generous amount of luggage while also capable of spectacular performance, the 812 Superfast retains an element of tradition by sticking with a non-turbocharged engine, aimed squarely at wealthy buyers who don’t want to compromise.
Succeeding the F12, the 812 Superfast takes elements of that car – and the limited edition F12 TdF – and builds upon them to offer almost identical performance and handling but without sacrificing comfort or usability.
The heart of the 812 is a 12-cylinder naturally aspirated engine, increased in capacity to 6.5-litre and mounted in the nose, but behind the front wheels for superior weight distribution. Despite the absence of turbochargers the V12 unit delivers 800 metric horsepower, making it the most powerful series production Ferrari ever built.
Despite this the 812 also comes with a stop/start system as standard, helping to trim emissions in urban driving.
As standard the 812 Superfast is fitted with the same seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as used on other Ferrari models and its predecessor, combining a fully automatic mode with the option to shift manually using wheel-mounted paddles.
For this particular model each ratio has been made shorter than before to boost acceleration. The combination of this incredibly powerful engine and highly efficient gearbox is remarkable, endowing the 812 with superlative acceleration even from higher speeds, as well as delivering a thrilling soundtrack to boot.
A first for Ferrari on the 812 Superfast is the addition of electric power steering. Although contributing to a reduction in fuel consumption the system also allows the addition of two driver aids dubbed Ferrari Peak Performance and Ferrari Power Oversteer, both of which adjust the amount of assistance at higher speeds to aid the driver in applying the ideal steering input.
Although it retains the rear-wheel drive layout, the sophisticated traction and stability control, electronic differential and even rear-wheel steering are adjustable via the steering-mounted manettino switch to suit the confidence of the driver and the road conditions, providing great reassurance.
Despite the power on offer and the size of the 812’s price tag it is surprisingly undemanding to drive, at normal road speeds at least. The steering is highly accurate and helps to give the driving behaviour of a much smaller car and the linear delivery of the engine makes it very manageable.
Grip levels are inevitably very high but even if they are breeched the 812 is free of vices with the electronic aids on or off.
Inside the 812 is civilised for a car with such high performance. The seats are highly supportive, the glazed area is generous giving a good view out and the driving position is straightforward.
Borrowing some of the latest infotainment technology from the GTC4 Lusso model is a welcome addition for the 812, although it uses a twin screen display which is a little more complicated to use than the single-screen version.
Ferrari’s claims for the practical nature of the 812 are easily met, with the generous boot offering a well-shaped area and the option to divide it from the passenger cabin with a sturdy foldable panel. The only niggle being that those of a shorter stature may struggle to reach the handle to close the rear lid once opened.
The Parkers Verdict
Ferrari could have made just a few changes to the outgoing F12 model and still be met with enthusiasm but the 812 Superfast is packed with improvements and innovations, showing that the famous marque has put significant effort into this model and moved it forwards in a number of significant areas.
Expensive to buy and inevitably expensive to run, the 812 Superfast is nonetheless a spectacular machine without peer, and is unlikely to leave a lucky buyer anything other than completely thrilled.